This unique competition, where no competitor owns their own horse, is run by The British Horse Society (BHS) to give non-horse owners the opportunity to compete at national level and is proudly sponsored by Champion. The Championship comprises a dressage test, show jumping course and a set of equine-related general knowledge questions.
The competition is enjoyed by riders of all ages, with the honours in this year’s 18 Years and Over category going to 66-year-old Janet Boulton from Billinghurst. Janet, who represented Arundel Riding Centre in West Sussex, set an extremely high standard riding Bobby. “I didn’t expect to win! I’ve had a wonderful day today and very happy to be the overall winner of the 18 Years and Over class.”
In the 13-17 Years Championship, Chloe McNally from Murton Equestrian Centre in Northumberland took the honours riding a lovely mare called Indi. Speaking of her success, Chloe said: “It’s my first year here and I would definitely like to do it again. I’ve found the competition a really positive experience and would highly recommend it to others – it’s been a real confidence boost.”
The 12 Years and Under final was won by 11-year-old Charlotte Hutchinson from Friars Hill Stables in Sinnington, North Yorkshire. When Charlotte was asked for her highlight from the Championships, she was quick to praise the pony she rode. “Competing with Nicky was the best part, I really enjoy riding him.”
For the first time last year a Dressage competition was introduced, enabling those who do not want to show jump to compete at a national championship. These classes have proven extremely popular with the riders, with a large field of entries in each age category.
The 17 Years and Under Dressage Champion was Rhianna Hill riding Royal Brighteyes from Witham Villa Riding Centre in Leicestershire. It was Rhianna’s third time at the Championships and she was delighted with her achievement. “After all the hard work put into training, it feels great that it has finally paid off,” she said.
In the 18 Years and Over Dressage Championship, the appropriately named Rebecca Champion from Friars Hill Stables completed a hat trick of victories at these Championships – having won the 13-17 Years Overall Championship for the last two years.
Rebecca celebrated her eighteenth birthday just days before the Championships and was delighted to get a win in her first attempt competing in the 18 Years and Over categories. “It feels great,” she said. “I’m quite surprised as I didn’t think I’d win, but I’m very happy.”
A team competition was also introduced last year, with the highest three scores from each centre added together to provide an overall team score. The winners of this competition for 2015 were the team from Friars Hill Stables.